Simple Steps to Get You On Track
Gaining a competitive edge from the bedroom to the boardroom begins with diet and exercise. Simply put, no one can ever or will ever, out train a bad diet. Nutrition is the foundation of how you feel. Proper nutrition balances hormones, provides targeted fuel to propel you through your day and allows your body to establish healthy cycles of sleep.
There are three essential components to constructing a healthy, lean, muscular body- all of which must be present and work synergistically:
- Resistance Training
- Moderate Cardiovascular Activity
- Supportive Nutrition
Here are 6 simple steps to help you dial this portion of the recipe in so you can start chiseling that six pack out from under the Winter slumber.
1. Take the Time to Eat Breakfast in The Morning.
Breakfast should include complex carbohydrates and clean protein. Essentially, complex carbohydrates provide energy while the protein ensures that the body has material readily available for rebuilding tissues.
Combining the complex carbohydrate with a protein stabilizes blood sugar levels and stokes the metabolism. Fail to provide your body with the energy that it requires to function properly and it will feed off of your muscle tissue and ultimately hamper your metabolism. A good combination would be a bowl of oatmeal, eggs, grapefruit and a cup of coffee for example.
2. Eat Every Three Hours.
This also requires some planning. Eating every three hours keeps your blood sugar/insulin levels stable throughout the day, controls cravings, prevents binging, reduces fat storage and keeps your metabolism burning hot.
Since you hear the word “metabolism” quite frequently in conjunction with nutrition, let’s take a quick look at what it means. Basically, “metabolism” is the rate at which your body burns through food. When you hear that someone has a “fast metabolism,” this simply means that the person’s body is efficiently using the calories derived from food whether active or at rest.
In short, eating frequently makes you burn more calories. On the contrary, missing meals immediately slows the metabolism, triggers the body’s starvation response and thus slows desired fat burning.
Ever wonder why people that consume few calories and perform cardio until they drop see very little to absolutely no results? They have a slowed metabolism. Frequent eating combined with the right food choices will super-charge the metabolism and turn your body into a virtual fat incinerator.
3. Avoid Simple Carbohydrates.
Simple carbohydrates are those found in refined sugar, honey and fruit juice. This type of sugar will provide quick energy but will also taper off just as quickly.
The bulk of your carbohydrate consumption should come from slowly digesting complex carbohydrates such as:
- Oats, Brown Rice, Wild Rice, Barley, Spelt, Quinoa, Sweet Potatoes, Legumes and Lentils
4. Watch Out in the Evening.
Ever notice that you tend to crave refined sugar in the evening? When the sun goes down, the basic “feel good” hormone called serotonin responds in kind. When we experience a low-serotonin state, the body sends a signal to the brain screaming for a quick “pick me up.”
The brain reacts by providing a nagging, nail-biting, jump-out-of-your-skin craving for foods that contain refined sugar like cookies, ice-cream and cake to spike serotonin levels. Everything is good for a while, until the low serotonin state inevitably returns and the vicious cycle begins anew.
How do you quell the craving?
- First, do not have any of these foods readily available for consumption.
- Second, turn on as many lights as possible to boost serotonin.
- Third, do something else like go for a quick, invigorating walk outside, read, take a shower, drink some water or – whatever it takes to distract yourself.
5. Taper Your Calories.
Breakfast should be your largest meal and dinner your smallest. Because you are essentially fasting while you sleep, it is unlikely that your body will store the early morning meal as fat. Conversely, in the evening, the metabolism naturally slows down and is at its absolute slowest when you are asleep.
Accordingly, the body is much more likely to store the calories consumed in a substantial dinner as fat. The general rule is to eat breakfast early enough so that you can get in all of your required meals with your final meal consumed two to three hours before you go to sleep. Does this require some serious commitment and steadfast dedication? You bet. Are the results worth it? No question.
6. Drink Plenty of Water.
Water is the most abundant nutrient in the body and is involved in every single physiological process. Approximately 60-70% of your body is comprised of water.
Water helps eliminate waste and toxins, regulates the body’s temperature, transports nutrients, helps muscle tone, reduces sodium buildup, relieves fluid retention and helps metabolize fat. In fact, water is essential to the fat burning process. So, flood your body with water throughout the day.
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